The Beginners Guide to Cutting Costs
As a student I know why it’s important to keep costs low, working on a low budget to meet our day to day needs is a challenge in itself but a worthwhile one when you learn to make it work. Given that we’re in a world wide recession on the other hand means that it’s more than the student population which has to learn how make a multipack of beans on toast go a little further. With The Guardian having reported that one in three firms imposing a pay freeze on employees whilst other firms such as Toyota having cut its pay by 10% now men and women across all social backgrounds are having to learn what it is to cut household costs. This is by no means an easy feat – so how do we make it work?
The first thing to remember is that you aren’t alone – millions of other families are in the same position so it’s possible to cut your costs without any major change to your living standards and I’ve found that the best way is to look a little closer to home by starting with our monthly and annual bills. More often than not we aren’t getting the cheapest deal when it comes to products such as car insurance and internet and phone providers. We often go into a contract with a company which promises that they will provide us with a great deal, however with time the average monthly bill will somehow be bumped up. The perfect example of this is when, in January myself and my fiancé moved house to an area where our current television and phone service provider didn’t operate so we opted for what looked like an amazing all in one package with another provider. For the first two months this was great but the bill slowly made it’s way up from £20.00 and month on average to £56.00, so the best place to start is to dig out all monthly and annual statements and have a look at what you’re being charged and if this can be reduced – then use specialty service comparison search websites such as Emerald Protection and Compare the Market to find if you are paying the cheapest price (you may end up being surprised).
In terms of grocery shopping one of the best ways to cut costs is to make out a list of what’s needed beforehand and take the time to go around the supermarket choosing only the items on your list, when you do examine supermarket brands compared to your usual option as usually there’s little or no taste difference whatsoever. This can help you save anything from £20.00 and week to £125.00 depending on the size of your weekly shop and family of course. For lbig ticket items such as televisions, fridges and other appliances replace these only when needed but do a quick Ebay and Amazon search to get the cheapest deals on these products as these more likely than not will not be found in your local electronic shop. Similarly if you’re going out and need that perfect outfit become a style savvy woman and look online for outlets which will give you the same style for half the price.
Cutting costs isn’t always easy, especially when you are trying to please a large family however it takes a little bit of questioning. I maintain that the best way to save money is to question everything – question if this really is the best price you are going to get and if you’re unsure then take the time to look both online and on the high street to find out how low retail competitors will go. This method can work for anything from your average tin of beans to a HD Television and of course if you really want to cut costs take a leap from a full-time students book – learn to enjoy beans on toast a little more.
Laura O'Hanlon is the creator of the blogs Living Minimalist and Sweeter Business. She is the author of The Amazing Nine to Five and blogs daily on health and wellness, minimalist living and finance management fo women.